I've just noticed a new feature on Google Maps. To help with discoverability and understanding of the satellite imagery (as opposed to the basic map) they have introduced an overlay window in the top right hand corner which exposes the satellite image for that part of the map:
As you pan and scroll the map, the image changes tracking these movements.
This visualization of world history, with time and location as the major axes, is one of the simplest but best I've seen. By rendering empires in space and time, the relationships between some of the major social and cultural forces to shape the modern world are made clear and intuitive. With every history book, or historical novel I read, I ask myself - why don't they provide this map?
Get it here. Or you can get it in the physical world from Metskers.
The Dohop blog points to some great work by Eric Fischer which provides a visualization contrasting a locals view of the city with that of a tourist. By looking at the frequency of photographs uploaded by a user, Fischer figured out approximately which were taken by locals (many pictures over time from the same city) and which were from tourists (only for a short period of time in a city). The resulting plots give an indication of how these different personas view cities.
Blue points indicate concentrations of images by locals, red, by tourists.
The Wall Street Journal has created an animated presentation of a week of Foursquare checkins focused on New York. The analytic covers other regions with top checkin events, gender differences and a comparison between New York and the Bay Area.
A colleague pointed out this postfrom Doug McCune's blog which experiments with visualizations of located quantities using elevation models. This approach is a little more on the artistic side rather than of high utility (it is, afterall, a height map, not a heat map).
Due to an increased amount of traffic from Factbites, I visited the site today and found their new product: The Full Wiki. The Full Wiki extracts locatable concepts from Wikipedia articles and provides an accompanying map annotated with these locations.
Take a moment to check out this video which shows some of the content that Blaise presented at TED today. There are two key features: integration and matching of photographs to our human scale imagery, and the integration of the world wide telescope. These features are pretty cool, but ultimately it is the whole idea of the mapping ecosystem that is the real winner.
The Street Shots app, which matches images to our human scale experience has a couple of really nice emergent qualities. The human scale imagery, in some sense, is more useful the more objective it is - matching images can really bring a place alive by capturing a human moment or event.
Secondly, when someone has uploaded an historical image, once can experience a location with a view to a different age. Here is a picture of Vancouver from 1890.
Bing maps - the ecology - is only just getting going!